In 2010, Greece passed a law banning smoking in restaurants, bars and even enclosed outdoor spaces. Let me assure you, this law is completely ignored....A good lesson about law. What makes people follow the law? Surely, a statute is not enough. There are cultural elements. Some law is passed in Athens, but who's keeping track of what's happening on all those islands? How many islands are there in Greece? Depends on how you count. It could be 6,000. It could be 163. The story above comes from the island of Lesbos. The man with the smoking beads was one of 90,643 Lesbians, who follow the law... who knows how assiduously?
There are a number of good seafood tavernas lining the waterfront and we choose one that has the lovely "no smoking" sing on the door. Except that inside, we see there are ashtrays on the tables and both the owner and the waitress are puffing away. Still, the dining room seems free of smoke and so we settle in at a table that seems relatively protected, should someone choose to light up.
January 8, 2013
"In a funny twist, Ed whispers how the man at the table next to ours is feverishly working his prayer beads with his hand."
"The man hears us and laughs. Not prayer beads -- he says in decent English -- this is what we do here when we try to quit smoking. You know, keep your fingers busy!"